Happy 6th birthday, iPhone!

Happy 6th birthday, iPhone!

Six years ago today I was watching in barely contained rage-jealousy as my friends lined up to buy the original iPhone at Apple Stores across America. It had no third-party apps, no video recording, no MMS, no copy/paste, and nothing approaching the functionality of Treo, Windows Mobile, BlackBerry, or Symbian (Wikipedia it) smartphones at the time, but it had a gorgeous capacitive multitouch interface and better first-party multitasking than had ever been seen in mobile before (it could switch from music to phone and back without crashing!)

The original iPhone was overpriced and under-functional, but it was also glorious and the beginning of a very real revolution in mobile. I got one here in Canada just as soon as it was jailbroken and unlocked, and could run on a local network (with a $200/100MB a month data plan!), and I've never looked back.

It was flawed, but it was the future. It was Steve Jobs' phone. It was Apple's phone. And it changed everything. Again.

If you had an original iPhone, let me know what you thought of it at the time, and how you feel now, on the occasion of it's sixth birthday.

Rene Ritchie

Editor-in-Chief of iMore, co-host of Iterate, Debug, ZEN and TECH, MacBreak Weekly. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter, App.net, Google+.

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There are 37 comments. Add yours.

vdroide says:

That presentation was iconic. Today I appreciated my phone more.

willizen says:

I remember buying that iPhone for $300 from the apple store, unlocking it and putting it on tmobile. Those were the days.

Still a nice design except for that plastic plate.

MacsRule says:

As a long-time PDA (Palm) user and a Mac user, I remember using both my iPhone and Palm TX. The TX was retired once use of 3rd party Apps were enabled. I own every generation of the iPhone & and I look forward to using iOS7 and the release of iPhone 5S!

emjayess says:

I remember when it came out, I was using a Palm Treo. I was unimpressed and uninterested in Apple products, having been seduced into the "dismiss everything Apple" trance years prior. One of my kids' friend's father stopped by with the iPhone and was showing it off and I remained unimpressed. Why?! Because I didn't want to really "see" it.

Then I was seduced hook, line, and sinker by the Palm Pre in 2009. Loved webOS (and still do!), but had to make the switch in late 2011 when it was clear it would die. Finally came out of my Windows etc. trance and went all-in with Apple and never looked back!

Very happy to see iOS 7 finally getting what made webOS so great!

Important lesson in humility in all of it.

Thanks Mr. Jobs and everyone at Apple!

Beacio_mo says:

I still use an old Palm Pre+ for an alarm clock on a touchstone! Too bad Palm never reached its true potential.

Richard Nieves says:

I was part of the webos crowd as well. Such a revolutionary OS that never got a break. I tried windows phone and android after webos died and finally settled on an iPhone. When I had my pre I also had an iPod touch to handle all the apps the pree didn't have. After trying out android last year I realized android was not for me and decided to try the iPhone 5. I don't see myself going back anytime soon. Very excited about ios7 and future iPhones to come.

iRahulRana says:

I was 8 or 9 when I got my first iPhone. It was the original iPhone and it was I think $499 for 8GB. Luckily I got the unlimited data plan and I'm carrying that plan today. I've had every iPhone since and I'm a loyal Apple customer. Happy Birthday iPhone!

merkdevine says:

I waitedin line at a at&t store for 8 hours then gladly spent $500 for the 4gb version. I felt like I had the future in my hand and was the envy of all my friends. I was hooked from the moment I saw the box and was amazed and the ease of use right out of the box. I have had every version since and still consider the original my favorite.

ungibbed says:

After my first hands-on experience with the original iPhone, I had to have it. Being the tech-junkie I am, I even signed up with AT&T just to use it as I've been with T-Mobile for years. Watching the iPhone evolve from a status symbol to a everyday product was something else. Had my original iPhone and I always had friends of mine who were die hard BlackBerry users and I still had my BlackBerry as well. Holding them side by side, the iPhone had wonderful craftsmanship and the amazing Safari browser that simply crushed my 'berry but also noticed the shortcomings that eventually would be worked out. Now having recently gotten the the T-Mobile iPhone 5, and looking back at the original. It's really come a long way. Now I can't wait for iOS 7 to bring the OS up to a modern state where Android devices have met and often surpassed the iOS platform but aside from one thing. Hardware and software of which only two companies in the mobile market offer. Apple of course but also BlackBerry which have had making hardware and software for much longer than Apple, but the old OS was so clunky. Like running classic Mac OS on current hardware.

Now I wait, impatiently, for the public release of iOS bringing both the the iPhone hardware and OS to a much more modern state.

Orion2021 says:

I just charged and fired up my original iPhone to use my music collection for a presentation. Still works great. It was a game changer. Thank you Steve for your vision and commitment to levels of perfection rarely seen. It may not have had all the functions, but what it did have was polished. I appreciate that. I just hope the new iOS comes this fall with that same level if excellence.

qbnkelt says:

I wanted that phone so badly. Didn't get it, I was afraid of the UI.
I'm so glad I've got my iPhone 4S.
This presentation WAS as iconic as the device.

Beacio_mo says:

The first gen iPhone was my first smartphone. Before that, I used a Motorola Razr, a PSP for games and videos, and a 3rd gen iPod for music (pre-click wheel!). I remember I thought the screen was soo large at the time. Plus, I loved having unlimited edge data for $20/month. Although I haven't purchased an iPhone since the 4 (I wanted a Nexus 4), I am very interested in iOS 7 and the next gen iPhone.

mjcostajr says:

I was working at the Apple Store in Clarendon - I remember closing in the afternoon and seeing the iPhone for the first time in the back room - love at first sight! Had a spectacular time selling the first iPhone to hundreds of people waiting in line. What a great experience - only Apple can do something like that!

Sent from the iMore App

MsLoveTech says:

Never got the Original iPhone but my first one was the 4/white happy birthday

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stephen007 says:

"with a $200/100MB a month data plan!"

Holy cow! The thing that sold me on the original iPhone was the $20/mo with unlimited data. Back in those early days it was the simplicity of the data plan that helped me to overcome the high price tag & commit.

wgfinley says:

I was at a seminar in Chicago the weekend it came out and the media was abuzz with the first day. On my way home stopped by the Apple Store in Northbrook to see if by chance they had any. They had a few and I plunked down my $500 for the 4GB thinking that was plenty, after all I still had my iPod and there was no way I was going to get all my music on any iPhone and I had to fork over $250 to my previous carrier to get out of the contract on my Razr. So all told I was out $750 but oh what a glorious device that was to own. I had been a Handspring Visor user for years and this was just like my Visor but way more cool and way less bulky. It was like holding a finely tuned instrument in your hands compared to the garbage phones there were at the time. Sure, the web apps were weak compared to what we have now but you instantly settled any bar bet with it. We take for granted everything that phone did now, it really did change the world and we're still figuring those changes out - first person who pulls out their phone pays the tab! I sold that phone to Gazelle when I got the 3G, wish I hadn't, it's still a great design.

i_dirtbike says:

i loved my first gen iPhone...changed my whole prospective of a mobile device...since then i been HOOKED! had every iPhone since, i have the iPhone 5 now! i love it, but i just ordered a BlackBerry Q10 for my business phone, which i heard great reviews on. i was gonna get the Z10, which is agreat phone as well (both my brother and dad have it) but i just feel like no other "fully touch" phone can compare to my iPhone 5 =]

Gsarfin says:

Waited in line for about an hour to get 1st gen the day it came out. I was glad to finally find a quality non-flip phone! I hated flip phones, and I had 2of the best multimedia flip phones available at the time! The monthly bill was a bit steep, but so with it! Still use the original and my 3G to DJ with. My wife still uses the 3GS as her main phone. I skipped the 4 and 5, but the 4s is my daily driver. Waiting for 5s to come out! Can't wait!!!

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Christian Nevarez says:

Still like the overall quality and build of the iPhone 2g. If I had my choice is take the inside of the 4s an put it into the 2g.

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thedunn805 says:

I purchased the Original iPhone on launch day, and I'll remember it as an influential moment in my life. I loved that phone so much. It didn't do everything, but what it did do-it did right. Happy Birthday iPhone, I'll never forget you.

ndaghri says:

My first iPhone was the iPhone 4, I was amazed when I saw the keynote (which was the first Steve Jobs keynote I ever saw), after 8 months I decided to buy a MacBook Pro, after three months I got the iPad 3rd gen and got the iPad mini when it came out as a gift!
Now I am a very satisfied Apple user.. I never looked back to the days of Windows and Symbian!
Happy birthday iPhone!

Sent from the iMore App

chrisoldroyd says:

Life changing and I still have it in pristine condition.

Analog Spirit says:

I had one of those original iPhones, the 8GB one. I unlocked it and used it on both AT&T and T-Mobile. I loved the design and the feel of it. If I could've somehow put the internal components of my 32GB iPhone 4 into the original iPhone's outer casing, I would've gladly done so. It was ridiculously overpriced and underpowered at first (I felt), but I didn't really care. I still wanted one.

I remember finally getting to see one in person at the AT&T store and marveling at how "big" the screen was compared to pretty much everything else that was out there at the time. How times have changed...

I actually didn't get it when it first came out, as I couldn't afford it back then, and it didn't feel "complete" enough for me yet, function-wise. But a few years later I managed to find one for relatively cheap ($100) and I used it as a backup phone for my 32GB iPhone 4. It was 4 years old at the time (2011) and still worked perfectly.

I ended up giving it to my friend whose ancient flip-phone finally died, so it was actually a huge upgrade for him. Even after he finally upgraded to a 4S, he still kept it as a backup, and he still has it to this day (still uses it!). I love those 1st-gen iPhones.

swarlos says:

I was at Macworld 2007 when this was announced, when I saw it spinning around in the enclosure for everybody to see I was entranced and hooked, I had to have one! I didn't get one until December of 2007 but once I did it was rapture LOL, I loved that thing! So funny cause my manager at the time gave me hard time since like Rene said I could do mms but sure enough one day I was texting a customer that became a friend and she stole my phone away and was texting him all day haha. I still think the Original iPhone is probably one of the best designed phones ever.

akdj says:

Right with ya swarlos....December '07....in fact I remember the date, 12/9/07. They released in Alaska about 7 months later than the 'rest of the world'. On Monday, the day after release I decided to stop by AT&T and see if there were any left. They had three....all 8GB models @ $599. If I were to have come home with just one my wife would've run me outta the house! Threw $1200 down and it changed our lives. We've moved from Windows (20 years at that point) to Apple. All. Apple. Started with a white MacBook for my bride. I loved it and bought a MBP. Added the 2008 MacPro 3.0Ghz x 2 and put a couple extra hard drives and RAM in there. That was year '1'. Now our entire business is powered by Apple. I've owned each iteration of the iPhone and my wife has been happy enough with hand me downs since AT&T has changed their yearly policy. We just discussed this weekend whether or not she was interested in my '5' update to her 4s. A simple demonstration of LTE and she's sold. The iPad....another massive revolution (for our family)---along with the MBA and the new rMBP....too bad I wasn't smart enough @ the time to throw that original $1200 into Apple stock!
Like others, I still have a 'working' original iPhone....with the box, charger and the original Apple Bluetooth earpiece (POS). Amazing it's been just over a half decade. We are now literally carrying powerful computers in our pockets and with the iPhone 5 and LTE....speeds that rival that of most home ISP offerings.
Fanboy? Yep....you betcha. But as a 42 year old born the same year as the 8086 processor, I feel I've earned it. Spent two decades with Windows....plenty of 'throw away' Motorola flip phones and Nokia garbage. My Treo that I updated my original iPhone with was the only path I saw to the future of handsets. Underpowered at the time and without an App Store to me it's amazing how far not only the hardware has come...but the development community and 'software' (apps) are healthier than ever....than any point in history when it comes to choice.
Thanks Steve and Cupertino....for many years of happiness and six years 'banked' watching my eight year old son grow up in pics and vids! Awesome!
TL/DR-me too! Loved my first iPhones!

Dionte says:

I took mine to the movies yesterday.

rabia16144 says:

I have used iPhone many times but couldn't get my own.I Wanna say tis is the ever best phone.Speechless.
Have Yuo any giveaway of iPhone.I would love to have an iPhone,my own

Ianthetechman says:

To tell you the truth the first iphone is still probably the most excited i have ever got about a device and i HAD to have one simple as that no matter what the cost. And to be honest the cost was pretty high at that time in my life.

romeshatre says:

Was the first one to get the iPhone in the friends circle in India unlocked and jailbroken
Have heard all the taunts and tantrums but never did I think it wasn't
Worth it. Masterpiece.

Trappiste says:

"but it had a gorgeous capacitive multitouch interface and better first-party multitasking than had ever been seen in mobile before (it could switch from music to phone and back without crashing!)"

This is interesting, because iPhone still today cannot multitask, yet my years old Symbian phones with 128MB of memory can... and a more mdoern Symbians can make a Skype call, go to the maps while at it, and keep Sport Tracking, and look up the topic of the Skype conversation on the web -- something iPhone still cannot do -- frustratingly! At times iPhone feels like a dumbphone with a beefed-up screen and processor.

Even at iP5 Apple have yet to address iPhones hardware shortcomings: The lackluster antenna designs, which struggle with signal reception, and poor battery management, which menas short standby times. As they say around here, Apple are a PC maker, not a phone maker, and it shows. The phone is cute though, but I prefer Nokia's more human and organic design language vs. iPhone's cold and machine-like yet prissy hardware demeanour. It lacks the warm and welcoming qualities that marks good design and separate personal objects from items appreciated behind some showcase.

mdazizal says:

Im still using the iphone 4s and the phone still amazing. My friend bought the samsung S4 and unfortunately less than 2 weeks he turned back to iphone 5s..

peterb77 says:

Still have mine. We use it as a sound machine for my daughter's room. I actually loved the original design.

eyemumforfun says:

I got mine on launch day..went into an AT&T store and they had a 4 GB in stock...I paid full price and never once did I feel like I wasted my money...the activation sucked and I think it took 48 hours...I have a white iPhone 5 on AT&T now...

karmski says:

In Australia for an unjailbroken phone we had to wait for the iPhone 3G. This was my first iPhone and I loved it. I remember the things it couldn't do, but after the user experience of my Nokia, the iPhone was an absolute joy! I've had every iPhone since, as has my partner and daughter. At one point my teenager swapped to a different phone, but that only lasted a week and she was back to her iPhone.

I moved to a MacBook Pro when intel (2006) was introduced and never looked back. Over the years the whole family and business has converted to Apple devices, as have many businesses to whom we consult.

The iPhone has positively changed the way I do so many things every hour of every day.

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AmplifiedHeart says:

I bought the original iPhone several months after its release. Being a person who typically resists the mainstream hype, I was looking for a competing smartphone that would give me everything I wanted (even as limited as it was back then). After constantly finding several that were close, but not quite there, I finally decided to get an iPhone. It was the most satisfying electronics purchase I had ever made. In fact, I don't know that I've felt that much satisfaction with an electronics purchase since. I even blogged about it back then, but the blog has long since died. It may have been flawed, but it made a huge impact and really did change everything.

Ipheuria says:

I remember waiting for it to be released. I was rocking a Motorola Ming at the time. I downloaded the iconic iPhone ringtone and used a picture of the home screen as my wallpaper. It was a ghetto iPhone lol but when it rang people certainly looked around since it wasn't out yet. It was so exciting and when I finally got it I JB and unlocked that sucker. I paid full price for it as I have every iPhone I have ever owned. I still have it now sitting in my home office. It still runs and it's been used by four of my family members spanning 3 different generations. It certainly was a revolution and it cemented what I know today as long as they make iPhones I will never need any other platform.

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ijcal says:

Still my favorite toy..